How to Be A Better Podcast Guest

How to Be A Better Podcast Guest (What Every Host Wants You To Know)

If being featured on podcasts is on your visibility plan, this is going to be a must-listen. We’re digging in on how to be a better podcast guest and we’re talking about the four things podcasts host wished you knew. This is going to be all about making you a better guest, which is going to make it easier, you’ll get on more podcasts. Stick around.

I am super amped to kick off this series. This is going to be a two-parter. Today, we’re going to talk about everything from the host’s perspective, meaning the four things you can do to be a better guest. Next week, we’re going to talk about it from the guest’s perspective and how you can be a better host because I think there’s room for growth on both sides, which is something we could talk about, but certainly, I think both camps can be a little guilty of “I’m doing it right and everyone else is doing it wrong” mentality, which is not super helpful from the perspective of growth. I say this as someone as guilty of this as anyone. I want to talk about these four things because I do think that these can help build trust and build reputation, and honestly help you get more podcast guest opportunities.

I hear from people all the time asking the ever, ever more frequent question of, “Do I need a podcast or should I just be a guest?” I think guesting is a fantastic way to figure out if podcasting is for you. Now, being a guest has an entirely different set of responsibilities than being the host of a show or having your own show, really executive producing your own show because that’s what you are.

As someone who’s using this as a tool in your business, you are the executive producer and host of your show. It is critical that you’re putting out the most quality content you can when we’re talking about building strategic assets.

When we think about this from the guest perspective, your responsibilities are different because your responsibilities are going to be to come in as “the talent”. One thing that’s really important to remember is that you don’t drive the boat when it’s not your show. Now, I do believe that to get the results you want from podcasting casting, you should be able to get where you want to get in an interview. But if you do the things we’re going to talk about today, if you can be aware of some of the stuff we’re going to talk about today, I think you and the host can have less a battle of who can take control of the show and more a collaborative conversation that serves a listenership, which is where everybody wins.

Before we dig in on this episode, I want to highlight one thing.

We were supposed to launch another podcast in late Q1. That did not happen. I am talking about why and being really honest about my own podcast energy as we moved out of really through Q1 and into Q2 over on The Podcast Newsroom. If you want to hear those April episodes, you can do that now but you have to get access to the private feed because that is kept behind an email opt-in because I share a little more intimately there than I do here, certainly in the episodes where I’m talking about why there’s not currently any podcast.

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The first key to being a better podcast guest is doing your research.

You have to be researching the shows you’re pitching. I know that feels like it slows down the amount of shows you can pitch, I know that means you’re not going to be able to send 25 emails a week and that’s okay. It really is. This is about building relationships. Here’s the cheat code. Here’s the shortcut to this. Recognize how many shows you have already listened to, how many relationships with podcasters you already have and start there because you know those shows, you know those hosts. That is going to be your most successful content because everyone is interested and invested in the conversation, meaning you and the host.

So often, as hosts, I think we forget and we also don’t want to bother anyone, just as much as people pitching for guest spots, so we forget to go, “Hey, you’re a genius. Do you want to be on my show?” But if you came to me and said, “Hey, I would love to be on your show, I think you’re doing really cool things with it,” I would probably say, “Yeah, because I know you and I trust you.” I know what you’re delivering is going to be quality because more than anything, I have a responsibility to my listenership, to my audience, to you.

Most of the pitches that get pitched to me, I say no to, and the number one reason is because it is immediately obvious that they have never heard my show. That’s right. Spoiler alert. We know when you don’t listen to the show. I can hear the head nods and the cheers of thousands of grateful podcasters who listen to the show, who already have podcasts going, “Oh my god, yeah. Oh my god, yeah,” because here’s the deal. It’s so obvious when you’ve never listened to the show. I’m not saying you need to be able to write a dissertation on my show. You should know what I’ve talked about in the last couple of weeks before you pitch it. You should know that I don’t have guests very often. You can look at the feed. You don’t even have to listen to the episodes. You can look at the feed and see the frequency in which guests are featured on this show and that should impact how you start your pitch.

I’m not saying don’t pitch me. I absolutely pitch shows that don’t generally have guests very often. I say, “Hey, I love your show. I love your message. I loved this, this, and this episode because of this, this, and this reason. If you ever decide to bring on another voice, I’d love to have a conversation about this because this is how it serves your listenership. This is how it serves you as a host. Let me know how I can make this easier.”

Every single host is afraid they’re going to run out of content, is afraid their listenership is going to get sick of listening to them. If you can prove to me, as a host—and I’m using me in the general term—if you can prove to the host that you have an understanding of the show and the listenership, you’ll get a lot closer to a yes. A lot of people get hung up on this idea of having an understanding of the listenership. I think it’s the most important part.

If you’re pitching shows where you don’t understand who the listener is, stop pitching shows right now. Do not pitch another one because the listenership is the only reason it’s worth pitching. I’m going to say that again. The listenership is the only reason it’s worth pitching. That listenership should be your ideal client. That listenership should be representative of the people you want to be working with, the people who you want to listen to your show if you have a podcast. That’s the thing you should be understanding above all else. That’s handy because it’s the most important factor for the host.

Like I said, they’ve already been working their tail off to build, know, like, and trust with their audience. The last thing they’re going to want to do is risk that with somebody who doesn’t understand how to meet the needs of the listener. You have to be proving in that pitch that you’ve done your research and how are you going to serve the listenership. If you don’t know that, you are not ever going to get off the ground with the pitching.

The second key to being a better podcast guest, come prepared.

I don’t just mean from a content perspective—I mean certainly from a content perspective, come prepared, but I’m sure you already know that—but also from a technological standpoint, from a physical standpoint, be ready. Have your headphones and have the other apps shut off, have your phone silenced, your iPad silenced, your watch silenced. I put my computer in Do Not Disturb mode so that it will turn all of my Mac devices to Do Not Disturb because more than once, I’ve had my watch start ringing while I’m trying to record a podcast—it’s a whole thing by the way—I want you to come absolutely ready, watered, ready to go.

You also need to come ready to move the conversation forward. This is where that research is going to play a role again. Have an understanding. You already know what you’re going to be talking about. You guys have figured out what the show is going to be about, what the point of you doing this is. Have some examples of the host, if that makes sense, of the people in a shared circle, in a business that you both enjoy, something that you can both participate in because it’s going to keep you out of that stale, sort of like table tennis of Q&A. Question, answer, question, answer, question, answer. That is not fun. You didn’t want to listen to me do that another round. Do you want to do a whole show of it? You certainly don’t, my love.

Come ready. Come prepared. Come have an understanding of what you need to be, to be in an optimal sound environment, what you need to do to deliver it, but also some examples and some ways in which you two can connect, and have a conversation together, it’s going to be critical.

The last piece you need to come prepared with is, that’s right, what’s next. Make sure you know already, before you sit down, where you’re sending them. Is it an opt in? Is it a landing page with a variety of resources? Is it a number they can text and get an opt in right then? What is it that you want them to do next? Because the thing that drives me the craziest is when we get to the part of the show where I go, “Oh god, it was so great talking to you. If the listeners want to get to know more, where can they go?” Then the guest goes, “Um, well, I guess the best place would be–” By the way, that was quality voicework.

Seriously, in all seriousness, when you do that, you lose immediately the trust you just built with the listenership and you completely disrupt the flow of like, “Oh yeah, I can’t wait. I’m so excited,” because it catches. Be ready. From start to finish, from before you sit down and having your water, and as my friend, Jo Gifford says, we and a tea, have your we and a tea, do your thing, sit down, have your headphones on, have your Zoom open, be logged into whatever guest recording software they’re using, Zencastr or Riverside or whatever it is they’re using, know how you want to be able to incorporate the host into your conversation, and know what you’re going to send it to do next. You have to be ready.

The third key to being a better podcast guest really ties into this what’s next piece, your call to action.

I want you to make this as concise and clear as possible. A lot of times, I hear guests, either in the shows that we edit or in shows that I’m listening to, I hear us get to the point where we’re going to find out where to connect with the guest and it’s a list. An absolute list. It makes it a complete pain, a complete pain for the listener to go to any of those places, because that’s to decide where I’m going. Instead, I want you to have a landing place. When you’re on a show, you send them to this link.

Now, this could be, “Hey, I send absolutely everywhere into my homepage because there’s links on my website to all the things.” This could be, “I have a special landing page where they can go get a specific opt-in that’s going to immediately put them into a well thought out, well executed funnel and handle it from there.” Honestly, I’ve had it both ways, depending on the season of my business. Right now, absolutely, everything’s over in because that has made the most sense. That will change this year. I’m actually currently working on a page that will look a little different, but I send them to one place.

I don’t share my website, my podcast, our private podcast, and opt in, and for social media profiles. I just don’t. It’s too many things. Again, you need to be more ready than that. You need to be more clear. If you don’t know what’s next, no one else is going to do what’s next because they can’t. Be really concise. Give them a reason to go there and send them a place. That’s absolutely everything you need to do.

Here’s the part where the host will really love you. Afterwards, send all the different links. Send it to the host and say, “Hey, if you want to include any of this in the show notes, they might be helpful. Here is my Facebook page, my Instagram profile, my TikTok channel, YouTube channel, podcast, private podcast, opt in, website,” whatever, LinkedIn, whatever you want to send people to. The host may include all of those. They may include just a couple of those. They may just include the one you shared on the episode but now they have the links to send them wherever they need to go. Make this really easy for the listener in the actual recording and for the host in their own production process.

The fourth piece, the fourth key to being a better podcast guest, is to share the show.

Be excited. I know that you booked this to get in front of their audience and you don’t really want to drive your audience to a show that is not yours. I get the logic. Here’s where it’s faulty. One of the things we look at when we get guest pitches, one of the things I tell clients to look for when they’re managing guest pitches, is to go look and see what other shows they’ve been on and how they’ve promoted them because this has got to be a win-win. You’re sharing audiences when you’re a guest on a podcast. You’re not just going in and harvesting theirs. You’re sharing.

It’s also an opportunity for their show to get in front of a new listenership. That’s one of the primary benefits of guests for a podcast host. Make sure, if you want them to be sharing, if you want them to be driving traffic to you, that you’re also sharing and driving that traffic to the website. Oh, by the way, you’re driving them to something where you’re the expert. You’re driving them somewhere where you’re being interviewed. How often does that happen on your show? This is an opportunity for your audience to hear you in a way they’ve never heard you before. There is an incredible value for you as well. But I promise you, your hosts will appreciate this. Make sure you are sharing that show.

All right, that is the four things that wrap us up, that brings us to the end of Part A. Part B will be next week. In the meantime, make sure you have subscribed over to The Podcast Newsroom to check out the episodes and what’s happening with the new show.

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